When I was left with over 350K of bad debt, a ruined credit score and reputation. My self confidence and self trust was shattered. I found myself swiftly assaulted with a myriad of legal hoopla, overwhelming conversations, and a lot of how-did-I-get-here and what will you do now. The individual who left me in this bind, left the country and me - literally putting the pieces back together.
I did not feel safe. I felt exposed. I felt used, abused and foolish, more foolish than I can possibly explain. Why or how can I have allowed myself to trust someone to let this happen? How did I contribute to this? What warning signs had I deliberately ignored that had landed me here.
No one I knew had ever dealt with this level of embezzlement, fraud or situation. I was lost and what followed was years of me muddling through the legal processes, stumbling through options and desperately trying to recover my pride and my self respect.
This desperation further put me in a vulnerable position... add to that that I kept the mess, the fear and the overwhelm to myself. I rarely spoke to someone about what was going on behind my closed door. I lost friends, ruined relationships and generally crashed anything that was still good in my life.
I was living completely out of integrity with my own values. I wasn't telling the truth, to anyone. I was hiding my "head in the sand", rather than taking life head on. I would so want to do things, follow through on bills, payments, commitments, friendships, ideas... you name it. My word was completely worthless. Utterly completely worthless. I was desperate to recover my life and not let go of my dreams. And, in typical fashion, hurt people hurt people. I was unable to maintain relationships, people often felt used by me as I tried to rebuild my life, or they felt the in-congruency and couldn't trust me as I tried to make the right connections or just desperately sought a safe place...
I own this. All of this.
I look back on myself now, and I cringe. I was living in terror. I felt like the bottom had fallen out of my life. I would like to go back to that girl and tell her to just let the facade go. To ask for more help, to seek more support and to tell the truth about my life and what I was dealing with more fully, more often and with the clarity that I believe I do now. I would tell her too, that it was important first to seek therapy, the rest not nearly important as this one part that never seemed to be the most important. No one's opinion or harsh words of "how could you be so stupid?" was ever or would ever have been louder than my own vicious internal dialogue.
Fast forward a few years.
I've healed. I've done the work to own my part in all of this, and have begun to make amends. Yes, amends. I have found such peace as I've decided to take radical responsibility for this whole thing, and move to radical acceptance of what was and now what is.
This campaign is born from a promise I made to myself when the whole mess began. A three part promise; first, to myself - to not give up and to do what I had to to recover, to heal and to thrive (the best revenge is a life well lived!); and second, that one day I would make it right with anyone and everyone I who paid a price for or in my recovery journey; and third, I would honour and thank the ones who stood with me or believed in me or showed me grace and kindness despite of where, who or how I was.